K Street Files: Then There Were Three

Posted December 8, 2009 at 6:46pm

Compete America, the tech community’s coalition to press for immigration reform, has whittled down a list of potential firms to run its operation. Podesta Group, Dewey Square Group and Monument Policy Group are all scheduled to be interviewed Thursday morning, according to an e-mail obtained by Roll Call.

[IMGCAP(1)]“We’ll plan to have an internal discussion, to be followed by interviews with the three candidates, followed by a discussion,— Alice Tornquist of Qualcomm, which is a member of the coalition, wrote to Compete insiders in the e-mail.

The move to hire an executive director comes after the coalition has been in a near-dormant status since 2008. The coalition is looking for a lobby shop to take on the day-to-day responsibility for the group.

“Opponents of highly skilled immigration and immigration reform generally will continue to engage the Hill, media, and blogosphere on a day-to-day basis,— a recent request-for-proposal states. “Our advocacy will involve pressing the case for access to talent, while also defending against provisions that could unduly burden the recruitment process.—

Tech lobbyists expect Compete America to announce a decision early next year.

Rand’s Private Option. What’s a lobbyist to do when a group of 10 moderate and liberal Democratic Senators are huddled in private health care negotiations? Well, if you are Barry Rand, CEO of AARP, you go to the meeting.

At least that’s how it appeared Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol when

Rand entered a room where the Senators were busy negotiating a compromise on the public option.

Rand, who was scheduled to meet with Sen. Mary Landrieu at the same time she was bunkered in negotiations, went behind closed doors to get in a word with the Louisiana Democrat.

But AARP spokesman Andrew Nannis said Rand didn’t make an appearance in front of the group of Senators. Instead, Rand and Landrieu powwowed just outside the meeting before Landrieu rejoined her colleagues, according to Nannis.

Rand’s one-on-one with Landrieu isn’t a signal that the senior’s lobby will be weighing in on the public option, though.

“We’re agnostic on the public option,— Nannis said.

Getzoff Exits Citi. Bank of New York Mellon is continuing to expand its Washington, D.C., presence, adding Citigroup’s Rob Getzoff to its ranks. Getzoff, who has been at Citi for the past three years, will be the bank’s top Democrat. He joins as managing director of government affairs.

“The company has a great reputation, and I’m looking forward to helping to build its government relations presence in Washington,— Getzoff said.

The former senior counsel to then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who is now White House chief of staff, starts his new job in January.

Getzoff will be working for Republican Ann Costello, who left Goldman Sachs this spring to open a Washington office for the bank.

Chamber Ups Ante. As House Democrats get ready to bring financial services regulatory reform legislation to the floor this week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce laid out the second phase of its campaign against one major piece of the bill, the creation of a consumer protection agency.

In addition to expanding its radio and television ad campaign against the Consumer Financial Protection Agency beyond the Beltway this week, the chamber also announced its own plan for consumer protection at a press conference Tuesday. The business lobby will be pushing its alternative in the Senate.

The chamber’s plan would create a council led by the Federal Trade Commission. The council would report quarterly to Congress and the Treasury Department, coordinate consumer protection and work to coordinate issuing of regulations, among other things, according to Andrew Pincus, a lawyer at Mayer Brown who is working for the chamber. Pincus said the council would also be in charge of financial literacy programs and create a one-stop consumer complaint resolution system.

The chamber’s David Hirschmann said his group will spend more than the $2 million that it had originally slated for pushing back against the consumer agency.

“We expect to spend well beyond that,— Hirschmann said, noting this is a top priority for the chamber. He added that the group plans to expand the ad campaign and grass-roots efforts in January.

PhRMA Adds Members. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is expanding its ranks. The trade group is adding seven new biopharmaceutical research companies, according to a press release.

The new PhRMA members are Cubist Pharmaceuticals, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Talecris Biotherapeutics, Vifor Pharma and Xoma Ltd.

Several of the new PhRMA members are expanding their in-house lobbying presence as well. OSI, Talecris and Alexion all registered in-house lobbying teams this year, according to Senate lobbying reports.

Talecris registered its in-house lobbying team in June and also has Patton Boggs and Sidley Austin on retainer. The biotherapeutics firm also reported spending the most on lobbying of all the new PhRMA members, $1.82 million.

Ferring and Vifor do not have in-house or contract lobbyists working for them.

The additions come nearly six months after PhRMA lost longtime member Hoffman-La Roche, which acquired Genentech earlier this year. Following the acquisition, the combined company decided to work through the Biotechnology Industry Organization, of which Genentech was already a member.

Alumni Reunion. The Franklin Square Group has brought another Information Technology Industry Council alumnus to the firm. Brian Peters, who most recently was director of government relations for Research in Motion, worked with the lobby shop’s founder Matt Tanielian at ITIC. (The firm’s Josh Ackil and Kara Calvert also hailed from the association).

The addition of Peters, a former legislative assistant to Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), comes as the shop has added several new clients this year, including EMC Corp., Applied Materials and Cisco Systems.

K Street Moves. The Outdoor Industry Association has hired Craig Mackey, a former aide to then-Colorado Gov. Roy Romer (D), as director of government affairs. Mackey will direct the OIA’s recreation program and manage the Boulder, Colo.-based group’s political action committee, OIAPAC.

David M. Drucker contributed to this report.

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